Escapism: through books, #spon content and meditation apps

I read an article about anxiety among pop stars in the social media generation last week. You can read it here. I liked it cause I think it accurately captures the zeitgeist (wow, I sound like my old drama teacher) in that yes, we’re all conscious of having a political and #woke conscience, just as those generations did before us with punk and whatnot. But social media – for teenagers coming of age now – has formed part of their identity, and we’re now starting to see that in the pop landscape.

In the piece, the writer identifies two types of Gen-Z’ers on social media, the ‘fame-hungry narcissists’ and the ‘hyper-aware over-thinkers’. If like me, you strongly identify with both, how do you find your place on the internet? If you’re aware that having a presence on social media will do wonders for your ‘brand’, but also know that spending too much time trying to expand this network isn’t something that comes too naturally (preferring to spend your free time reading or mastering the art of a paper aeroplane), do you decide to take steps away from this dopamine-fuelled activity and ditch the smartphone altogether? (This is clearly the the hyper-aware over-thinker stepping up the mic.) I’ve had a dream twice within the past week or so where I snap my phone in half and it crumbles into ash. I then wake up and reach for my phone to see if anybody’s texted me.

Something that intrigues me is the increasing number of people monetising their lives by just, like, travelling around the world. I’m fascinated with travel bloggers and how they use social media (yes, that thing you just tweeted a pic of your Wetherspoons round on) to fund their ‘adventures’. I wish it was as blissful as it looks but I don’t buy into it. Even more so after I watched this Vice News clip about these total #vanlife phoneys (please watch it if you have 10 mins and marvel in how messed up reality can be faked online). Millennials are more into travelling and ‘experiences’ than buying a tonne of nice stuff, apparently, so travelling the world as an influencer and getting paid for it seems like a pretty obvious way to do life, and with the inclusivity of the internet (so long as you have a Wi-Fi connection and, surely, a senior figure in your life who can bail you out of bad situations) it seems more possible than ever.

But is the content the top travel bloggers are making really that interesting? I’m always trying to find interesting things to read about travel, as everyone’s travel daddy Bill Bryson once said  in an interview: “A basic error with travel writing is assuming everybody’s interested. You have to work from exactly the opposite assumption: nobody is interested. Even your wife is not interested. You have to somehow make it so that they become interested.”

When I read that, I laughed out loud. I felt like I’d just been given the best advice about writing about holidays or trips, in that no-one cares about the ‘Today I visited this church. Wow, it was so pretty!’ kind of vibe. I’m not slating enjoying a holiday and writing about it (obviously!) but my favourite pieces about travelling are always the ones that show travelling for what it can be: rare moments of wonder and feelings of unbelievable freedom – interspersed between long bus journeys, waiting in stuffy airport lounges, finding your companion unbelievably tiresome (even if you’re travelling solo) and maybe – just maybe – small pangs of homesickness (…you can take the girl out of Peterborough). That’s why I could read Bill Bryson’s books over and over, his petty moans about the irks of travelling make the experience so much more enjoyable to read (and sure as hell beat the #spon posts from the #vanlife elite).

I am so close to finishing reading John Waters’ travelogue about hitchhiking from his native Baltimore to San Francisco, and it’s one of the most original book structures I’ve ever come across. Before he ventured off on his trip, he spent a few months imagining the best possible thing that could happen – and the worst case scenario – which form the first two-thirds of the book. So, the first 200 pages give the weird and wonderful Pope of Trash – director of cult films Hairspray and Pink Flamingos – the ability to show off his endless, no-holds-barred imagination (the ‘Best Trip’ is so heartwarming because you’re so happy everything’s worked out so well for him, and the ‘Worst Trip’ actually made me retch while eating a mushroom omelette as we meet a gruesome character who picks up near-dead roadkill and collects the creatures in her car). It makes for such a hoot of book! Here’s the link to buy it. Or watch this video. (Or ask your local library to order it in!) Also, while I’m talking about holidays and trips, our next Girl Chat episode (landing next Wednesday, April 18) is about holiday romances. Check out the all the ones preceding it here.

I’ve digressed hugely: back to the phoney #vanlife-rs. Perhaps it’s the cynicism of the person typing, but I’m sceptical of influencers and wonder how satisfying their ‘jobs’ really are. This, by the maker of parody Instagram account Deliciously Stella is interesting – as it was her idea to satirise the whole movement, but she still got sucked into the allure of free stuff anyway. I would love to think that I could travel the world on an all-expenses-paid trip as a travel blogger with #hashtag revenue streaming in, but not at the expense of missing all of the opportunities immersing yourself in another culture brings by having my head glued to my phone. Bryson again, in Neither Her Nor There: “I can’t think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything. Suddenly you are five years old again. You can’t read anything, you have only the most rudimentary sense of how things work, you can’t even reliably cross a street without endangering your life. Your whole existence becomes a series of interesting guesses.”

Something not totally evil about technology though: I’ve used the Headspace mediation app every day for the past three weeks (21-day streak, holla!) and it’s already made a huge difference to how I deal with my often extremely busy mind. There have only been benefits so far, which have weasled their way into all aspects of my everyday mundanity: dealing with 3,000 unread emails at 9am, coping with the petty but way valid stresses of sharing a house (and kitchen) with several people and, well, getting back into the habit of writing again.

At the time of writing this, it’s 8:30am and I’ve managed to write almost 1,000 words already – before my ‘working day’ has even begun. I woke up in a rotten-as-hell mood this morning (disclaimer: there’s a 90% chance I have glandular fever, sigh) but I took 10 minutes to listen to the Headspace dudes’s familiar tones, grabbed my laptop, and wrote the post you’ve just read.

For those who deal with anxiety as frequently as you brush your teeth, clarity of mind is not to be scoffed at. There are 10 free days before you have to subscribe: something I got way too pissed off about (capitalising on meditation seemed as icky to me as, like, the standard £15-a-session yoga classes everywhere in central London) but after four or five days of not subscribing in protest after my trial, I felt myself spiralling back into a pattern of negative thoughts. I was curious to see if the next 10 days would feel as good as the first did. In fact, they got even better, so now I’m telling you about it.

If you’re a student, you can get Spotify Premium and Headspace for £5 a month, (sign me up to a degree course already, purely for the discount). Btw, although it might seem it, this is definitely not #spon content.

Anyway, I’m all out. Until next time!

Follow me on Twitter @taralepore

‘Do you wanna be in the business?’ – 10 songs about the music industry

I read Mike Love’s autobiography last week, the lead singer from the Beach Boys who isn’t Brian Wilson. It’s actually a wonderful read, and a fascinating one at that for anyone supremely interested in 1960s America. In it, Love documents the sudden rise of the Beach Boys as ‘America’s Band’ after Life magazine ran a cover feature about California’s surf craze. So, writing to a brief almost, the Beach Boys signed a deal to produce seven records in something like two years, on the theme of surfing, girls and cars (Surfin’ USA, California Girls, Little Deuce Coupe respectively). While I was reading it I could help but listen to the band on repeat, which got me yearning for summer during a time in mid-March where we’ve been seeing blizzard-like snow. The interesting thing about the Beach Boys is that Pet Sounds and the re-imagined Smile Sessions aside, they have only around 15 hits that have kept resurging every 10 years or so, as another generation discovers their music and makes out with their boyfriends in the car to it. The memoir also recounts the band’s infamous lawsuits throughout the years which got me thinking about the workings of the music industry since the ’60s. So I made a PLAYLIST of songs about the curious, sneaky inner goings-on in the biz (scroll down for related lyrics*). You can listen to it here.

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Here are a list of other books that I have hugely enjoyed since the turn of the new year: Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney; Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton, Rookie on Love by Rookie writers and contributors; Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. I’ve tried to get into Goodreads as a way to easily share and get recommendations on what I’ve been reading, but I JUST CAN’T RATE A BOOK OUT OF FIVE! I just rate ALL the books I’ve read out of five, mostly as a pat-on-the-back to myself: Well done you! Five stars for reading a book!


I went to Newcastle for St. Patrick’s Day to see my dear friend and Girl Chat co-host Chloe Trayford. It were a right belter. Here’s some art I saw at the Baltic Gallery that I give you full permission to use as your phone wallpaper.

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On the train home, I watched Beats Rhymes and Life, a documentary about A Tribe Called Quest available on Netflix! Watch it! It’s great! It’s so great I had no idea my train arrived 40 minutes late and I got the full price of my ticket back. All good news.


Other things that I’ve been up to: Saw the motherfucking GOAT Milo at Birthdays in Stoke Newington at both his sold-out shows in London a couple of weeks ago. I don’t have any photos. He did completely different sets both nights and it was probably the most life-affirming duo of shows I’ve ever seen (no hyperboles, trust). It was quite otherworldly to be stood at the front of the crowd and see someone be so creative so spontaneously and with such conviction. If you’ve not heard him yet, I suggest you do so wherever you listen to your music. If you want to support independent radio, here’s an appearance he did on NTS Radio. He steps up around 14m 30s, but listen from the start to hear an insanely good Busdriver track.

OK, I have a terrible cold and I’m out. I’ll be back soon having done some REAL writing.


(P.S. Here’s all the lyrics related to the music business in the linked up playlist, in case you didn’t believe me).
*1. Check the Rhime – A Tribe Called Quest
“Industry rule number four thousand and eighty
Record company people are shady
So kids watch your back ’cause I think they smoke crack
I don’t doubt it, look at how they act”

2. Paint a Vulgar Picture – The Smiths
“Best of! Most of!
Satiate the need
Slip them into different sleeves!
Buy both, and feel deceived
Climber – new entry, re-entry”

3. Free Man in Paris – Joni Mitchell
“I was a free man in Paris
I felt unfettered and alive
Nobody was calling me up for favours
And no one’s future to decide
You know I’d go back there tomorrow
But for the work I’ve taken on
Stoking the star maker machinery
Behind the popular song”

4. Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe – Kendrick Lamar
“You shut me down, you like the control
You speak to me like I’m a child
Try to hold it down, I know the answer
I can shake it off and you feel threatened by me”

5. Re: Animist – Milo
“Showboat rappers get stood up in their studio
I heard Wal-Mart signed Jason Derulo
Then dropped him cause he couldn’t sell crew socks
And refused to adopt the umlaut”

6. W.O.E is Entertainment – Jurassic 5
“Welcome to the wonderful world of entertainment
Where life imitate art and people get famous
Welcome to the world of showbiz arrangement
Where lights, camera, action is the language”

7. We Walk – The Ting Tings
We can’t be honest
We call it off
We got the choice if it all goes wrong
We walk, we walk

8. Have a Cigar – Pink Floyd
“You’re gonna make it if you try,
They’re gonna love you.
I’ve always had a deep respect and I mean that most sincere;
The band is just fantastic, that is really what I think,
Oh, by the way, which one’s Pink?”

9. Country House – Blur
“City dweller, successful fella thought to himself
Oops I’ve got a lot of money
Caught in a rat race terminally
I’m a professional cynic but my heart’s not in it
I’m payin’ the price of livin’ life at the limit”

10. Show Business – A Tribe Called Quest
“Let me tell you ’bout the snakes, the fakes, the lies
The highs at all of these industry shing-dings
Where you see the pretty girls
In the high animated world
Checkin’ for a rapper with all the dough
If you take a shit they want to know
And if you’re gonna fall, they won’t be around, y’all
So you still wanna do the show business?”

Things to read this January (and why scrolling social media sucks)

I don’t actually mind using the internet. I know, it’s a revelation to me too. Don’t get me wrong, our relationship hasn’t been simple – often tumultuous (deleting my Instagram profile once before, removing the Twitter app from my phone once a week, and no storage-sapping Facebook app, thank you) – but all in all, there are so many opportunities to learn, and laugh at great Vines and, well, post your writing to a technically infinite audience (a dozen or so readers per post still technically falls between 0 and infinity, so hey). The good times on the internet have included:

  1. An article of mine being published on the CBBC Newsround website in 2006. I wrote about my experience as an extra on an Eastenders episode and I remember feeling like the next step was obviously Jacqueline Wilson-level fame (how the BBC didn’t snap me up in primary school for brand loyalty alone I’ll never know)!
  2. Streaming every single episode of Mad Men during a tricky break-up. Thank you, thank you, internet.
  3. As an actual child, firing up the only programme we had on our PC besides Word and Minesweeper: Microsoft Encarta. For those of you not acquainted with the software, it was an encyclopedia you could download off a CD-ROM, like a simplified Wikipedia; a way to actually learn useful things without having to sift through a clickable hot take angle first.
  4. Having my first semi-viral moment on Twitter with a photo of a moon emoji perfectly placed over a Potato Smiley on a plate of more Potato Smileys which was retweeted by the Moon Emoji account.

(Btw, I just tried finding it for about five seconds before I realised that this is exactly what I’m writing against – wasting sweet and precious time on the internet – but you have to trust the fact that I got around 500 RETWEETS AND I LIVED OFF THAT KINDA-FAME FOR MONTHS.)

You know what doesn’t show up on this list? Scrolling. I hate scrolling. Scrolling is not only harsh on the eyes, but you don’t retain any of the information seen during scrolling – nothing good has ever come from it. We should totally just stab scrolling! I’m going to write this because I know I’m not alone in this: a way I have been waking up for the past year at least has been by turning off an alarm (on my phone, or on my radio, but the following action is almost always the same) and scrolling through the news/Twitter/Instagram on my phone. At first it started as a way to get ‘up to date with the nuyooz!’ as I tried to figure out how to be a journalist, but it turns out scan-reading depressing tweets about #MeToo, even more depressing tweets about Donald Trump’s apparent good health and (pretty funny) tweets showing people slipping over on ice or whatever is not the way to a) be a good journalist or b) greet the new day.

Therefore, here are some things I have read this week that I reckon are actually worth your time to read all the way through to the end. In the meantime, I’m going to group all of my social media apps in a folder on my phone called Scrolling Sucks to encourage me to only log in when I’ve got something to say, a picture to post or have something actively active to do on there. Scrolling is so passive, and I have an ever growing Google Docs list of books I’d really like to read (this is a different post entirely). Here are some non-paper things for you, though:

1) Money Diary: A Freelance Writer Living In London On 14k

OK, OK, this has been doing the rounds on social media a bit this week because it’s the most lolz Money Diary yet and Ms Anonymous is an absolute dude for buying £12.50 eggs and £70 coke on NYE solely for the reason that it only comes but once a year. I read it all the way through to the end because, while not freelance at the moment, the self-deprecating quips mirror the tone of my money anxiety annoyingly derived from the time I *was* freelance, silently totting up each and every bus fare and foodstuffs in my head ’til it’s all I could ever think about. Everyone tells me I’m “so great with money!”, which I think is true, but some days I walk four miles across London to get home when I *can* actually afford a £1.50 bus fare home. I have not ever once suggested getting in an Uber – unless someone else can assure me they’re paying – so while I am *good* with money, I am absolutely terrified of it, too.

2) Editor’s Letter, Utopia by Tavi Gevinson

I’m a die-hard Rookie fan and direct every single person who speaks to me towards it because there is so much accessible, smart, funny content on there that is Definitely Not For Clicks. It shaped so much of my teenage years as it launched when I was 14, and I read it religiously three times a day until I was 18 or so. Tavi Gevinson has never disappointed me in that she is only three weeks older than me yet is so incredibly smart and perceptive. Imagine my joy, then, as I read her January editor’s letter for Rookie that discusses several ideas, beginning with the idea that the role of the internet has changed so massively, and is now so much about money-making click-y stuff, that it’s OK to want to find alternative ways to have thoughts/learn stuff/document life if being online is becoming more and more uncomfortable for you (holla!)

TG: ‘Whatever you need to do to create that space for yourself, do it this year. Do it now. Fight the new pace of thinking designed to keep us in Facebook fights and make Facebook more money. Resist getting so wound up by every story that you accelerate off a cliff into apathy. Lengthen the circuit between a candid thought and your anticipation of how it will be received, a circuit constantly shrinking in fear. Try your ideas out with people you are not desperate to impress, so there’s less ego clouding your discussion.’

It’s not all bad for the internet in this piece though, as Tavi writes about how the internet, as it was in 2011, was a wonderful place for the origins of Rookie: ‘I find it endlessly amazing that teens—particularly those whose IRL communities don’t offer such a space—can now talk openly about what it’s like to be living out what you’re told should be the best years of your life, while your brain is still developing and you’re more insecure than ever and sex is a new thing but you feel incredibly unsexy, and “just be yourself” is something adults say, not teens, and it’s never actually brought any reassurance.’

She also brings forth so many other ideas that I’m not going to plagiarise here (as I’ll do so badly) but I’ll instead direct you once more to the damn thing.

3) Perfectionism is destroying the mental health of my millennial generation

And this by the great writer Daisy Buchanan on why perfectionism isn’t cool whatsoever and is actually making us ill. Scrolling (look, scrolling!) Instagram is something that ‘intellectually, we know is all a lovely lie, but emotionally it’s a struggle. Feelings seem like facts.’

(And here’s ONE paper thing – I’m currently reading Mark Greif’s collection of essays Against Everything ((which Tavi coincidentally references in her January Rookie piece too)). Would highly recommend if you like interesting reading on subjects such as the sexualisation of youth, the rise and rise of YouTube and learning how to rap as a white person. Oh, and hipsters.)

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This week’s rack round-up – 29/01/17

In a weird, flu-induced haze in TK Maxx a few weeks ago, I decided that what I really needed was an organiser for all the piles of magazines and papers that were accumulating on my desk, rather than what I really went in for, which was new pants. The only paper organiser I could find instore was adorned with glittery butterflies, which I was kind of into, but was subsequently won over by the above rack with its gloriously tacky-not-tacky London skyline. The less stuff that’s stored in it, the more [landmarks] you can see, which is kind of a metaphor for life. If anything, these fortnightly posts might inspire me to keep my desk tidier. The rack is there for things to be in easy reach at any given moment, so it’s an apt representation of things that I’m currently into reading/listening to/consuming in all its forms. Welcome to the first instalment of this week’s rack round-up!

1) Been reading… this (glorious) copy of The Fader!

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Oh, Fader, how I love thee – thee who I can pick up in various vintage shops for free! What a seriously gorgeous-looking magazine, though. The quality of the paper, the heaviness of it, *breathes in smugly, nose-deep in the spine of the most-perfect perfect bound publication*. I picked this up in the Covent Garden branch of Rokit – the last in the pile – and now I’m doubting whether it was actually free for the taking. Oh, well. Whoever’s copy of Fader I stole, thank you. The interview with Girlpool by Patrick D. McDermott is one of the best things I’ve read about a band in ages, clearly trying to suppress a fan-boy admiration for these two teen queens of nursery rhyme grunge. You can read the entire thing here (thanks, internet!) – it’s kinda long, but bookmark it for later. Me and my mate Chloe saw Girlpool a couple of years ago at End of the Road festival and it was the highlight of the weekend. I didn’t realise that they were the same age as the both of us at the time, which now just makes me even more heart eyes for everything they’re about. Share the love with me! Like this YouTube video! Now!

There’s also a great feature about faith and what it means to yung thingz today. Everything with the world has gone batshit crazy and I’ve often caught myself thinking about faith of late (particularly over Christmas). Here is that feature for you to read/bookmark/print off etc.

2) *Also* been reading… this book from the School of Life series about how we can exist in cities without losing our collective shit.

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I’m not going to write at length about this (yet), because as you can see, I’ve been busy furrowing through it flagging up its golden morsels of info about how one can best get on in, and with, the city. I’ve been a Londoner now for six months and I love it so much, but as with all relationships, it requires work. Anyway, I’ll write something longer about this when it’s not a Sunday and I don’t have to get to the supermarket before 4pm. City life, amirite.

3) Been listening to… this: over and over and over and over and over. 

fullsizerender-2If a film were to be made following me mooching around in my bedroom over the past three months, this would be the soundtrack. Not the soundtrack in the sense of the album’s politically-charged and so-very-important messages, but the soundtrack in the sense that it just would be on in the background. Seriously, there’s a button on my CD player where you can repeat an album over and over – I don’t know who I wrote that for, perhaps those born post-2000 – and it fills me with an enormous sense of comfort to press that button after I hit play, snug in the knowledge that it’ll be playing as I’ve been tackling monstrous to-do lists. I’ve just graduated from a really intensive fast-track diploma (in journalism! Please hire me!), and the last few months have essentially been an uber-sized task in time management. The way each song flows into the next, how the chord progressions resolve, the way he sings about God – the album was like a lullaby (and sometimes not even ‘like a’, but rather an actual one, having to play it quietly through my phone in order to sleep). Please, for the love of the world, spend your Sunday listening to it. Its themes are particularly pertinent at the moment, when one has to truly ask ‘What [the fuck]’s [really going] on? Read more about the album in this Pitchfork review, here.

Thanks for reading!

T.A.L x

I Me Mine: 3,872 characters of stuff that’s happened in June – 18/6/16

I have become so supremely talented at Twitter that I’ve started writing top-class tweets I don’t want to post (of which there are many) in my journal, as to not bombard my Twitter page with Dad jokes that no-one understands. Here is stuff I’ve been up to, in 140 characters plus:

I have been apologising to myself a lot lately for not writing ‘creative stuff’ as much as I’d like to. The two people that live inside my head, the cool, rational, laid-back one, whom I like to refer to as Tara (hoping that this rational, calm side is actually who I am, 95% of the time, when not riddled with anxiety), is all, DON’T WORRY, you write for your job, you continue to write religiously in your journal, you do not owe your life to a Tumblr account. And that’s fine. I trust that voice, with the safe knowledge that I’ll get back to writing again soon, and in a big way.

The other person that lives inside my head, whom I will call Martha (disclaimer: I do call her Martha, IRL), starts telling me I’m not doing enough, I need to be writing more, writing for every website, seizing every opportunity, paid or unpaid, time or no time. I felt quite glad the day I renamed my anxiety ‘Martha’, because now I can just tell Martha to shut up, get out of my head, and continue to listen only to Tara, to whom I have total loyalty to (as she always knows what to do, kind of. She’s done stuff before).

When I don’t know what in the hell I’m doing, when my brain does a wonk and I need to sit down and focus on singular thoughts, I heed these wise tweets of yore from Our Lady Caitlin Moran, one of which suggests: Just Listen to David Bowie. It has yet to fail.

Also, a wonderful, wonderful friend made me this reminder/poster, to de-wonkify my mind:

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That being said, I have been well, despite the lack of productivity with writing-y bits over the last couple of weeks, and a week-long bout of cystitis that’s hit me worryingly Too Close for (Glastonbury) Comfort. Behold, some updates on me:

  1. My play Fitting Room showed to an audience of around 50 people – 50 strangers at that!- at the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich a few Fridays (3 June) ago, and the general consensus was that it wasn’t a total trainwreck. A few people even laughed! So that was really fun, and it looks likely to be developed in 2017. No, there’s no deal with Hollywood people, not yet. Yes, it will be re-written by me. Yes, it means I have to write some more of it. Seeing a new audience watch it for the first time and discuss it afterwards over tiny paper cups of coffee – as one only does at the theatre –  was enough for me to know it’s got something to say and people have latched onto that, whatever it is. (I kind of know what that is – being the writer and all – but only kind of. I was delightfully surprised at how much people had latched onto those initial ideas I’d had last July when I was writing the first draft, so something worked). And my friends came to see it, and we stopped off at Wetherspoons on the three-hour journey down, and I didn’t even get a parking ticket. However, I’m going to be taking a few months’ hiatus from playwriting as:
  2. …I’m moving to South London at the end of August to get some more journalism training as part of a six-month course with News Associates. It means I have to leave my current job – sob – (well, don’t I know it! I should be a poet!) but aside from all the changes and goodbyes, etc, I’m really looking forward to moving out and moving into London, something I’ve wanted to do since forever. And, by George, am I ready to continuing making magazines! Heck, yeah! It’s a risk, but I can’t wait. London!
  3. I wrote a review of Amy Rose Spiegel’s Action on that new site I was on about, Obviously a Hobby. Read it here. If anything, it’s become a lovely place for me to post scans from my sketchbook. I’d love for more people to contribute – my dear friend Ella got the ball rolling with this post – and I’ll get there, it’s a work in progress. Success is long patience, etc, etc.
  4. I’m off to Glastonbury in three days and 17 hours! I have that much time to get my kidneys back in action for a week-long binge of Strongbow. Wish me luck!

 

Until next time,

T.A.L x

“She’s the colour of a magazine”

– something I wrote about Suede, and glam rock, to help aid and justify a delicate day after the night before. Also, I’ve been meaning to write something on here for the past few days as I realise some of my friends are now looking at this! Hey! How you doing!

I am so surprised I am even able to write this right now. It is half past 4 and all I’ve done since returning home this afternoon is sit very still, occasionally scribbling something down in my notebook, such as ‘I am going to have a cup of tea and then I will read Othello.’ Turns out Othello is pretty long and written in a form of jibberish. Writing down these little affirmations in the hope that I will be inspired to start getting on the productivity thing- whereas in fact I feel much better about myself today lying on my bed, half asleep, half-chewing my gum from last night, coming in and out of naps.

The other day at the gym I was absolutely sweating and beaming out all the endorphins imaginable, and I had a really clear thought where I went, ‘Suede!’ I’ve never written anything about Suede, (except tiny pleas/love letters and explicit drawings of Brett Anderson) so I thought it was good if I could explore them through my writing in order to discover the undiscoverable and unexplainable magic of the whole thing, man. (I am still feeling pretty baked.)

Aside: (I was listening to Suede earlier to rekindle the old obsession, but as I write this I am listening to none other than 3 Feet High and Rising, the best album ever recorded. This had to be mentioned.)

So, let’s begin with Exhibit A.

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Beautiful, androgynous Brett. I saw Suede last winter in Nottingham with my dad and he still has that compelling, captivating stage presence that just makes you hooked on his movements and the lyrics he’s singing, (Brett Anderson, not my dad.)

I searched his Wikipedia page in order to unravel the mystery a little for the sake of the blawg, and the anonymous and undderated writers of Wikipedia summed him up, perfectly: “[He] combines Morrissey’s homoerotic posturing with David Bowie’s glam theatrics”

I love the band because when listening to them, feeling a bit regretful and lousy, they manage to translate every bad decision I’ve made into something beautiful and otherwordly,  + *spoiler alert*AND THAT IS THE BEST THING WITH GLAM ROCK!!!*

Bowie, Bolan – it’s all about glitter, glitter in excess, excess, theatricality, making mistakes but turning those bad feelings into something else. It’s about saying, I’m gonna put on a show for you guys because life can be humdrum and monochrome at the best of times so we may as well make a big deal of it. Then, all of a sudden: pastel colours look simply washed out- what you thought were neutrals ‘beiges, creams, whites’ are replaced with the real essentials: ‘leopard print, sparkly silver, red, shiny black’ – and bam! You are in a good place, amongst friends.

Digressing (as per), but for me, the way DB wrote Starman ‘which had shaken everyone with its somewhere-over-the-rainbow chorus…’ – as Morrissey puts it in his Autobioraphy as well as ‘he is a Wildean visionary about to remould England’ – which always makes me smile as it’s lovely to see how musical influences all link together. (really digressing now)

I suppose Morrissey is not totally regarded as a glam-rock icon, but he was intrigued with the ambigious sexuality of the movement with Bowie, T.rex and particualrly the New York Dolls for instance. He also adored the gender-less nature of Patti Smith, and writes of her chef d’oeuvre, Horses, ‘[it] told me that, however heavy-hearted and impossible you might feel about yourself, you can still bestow love through recorded song.’…The fact that you don’t look like a pop star in waiting should not dishearten you because your oddness could be the deciding wind of change for others.’

The first Suede album I came across was ‘Coming Up- my dad handed me the CD and said, “listen to Track 9”, and I did- for a very long time over & over and it has actually inspired a lot of my little writing pieces over the last few years.

“Oh, we are young and not tired of it, we are young and easily led , oh – with all the kids getting out of their heads.”

I am growing sleepier (you don’t even know how long its taken me to write this post – today has been very delayed and mellow) – so I will leave you with a few more songs to hear, if you can handle the barrage on all of the senses.

“Shaved heads, raveheads, on the pill, got too much time to kill.”

“What does it take to turn you on now he has gone?”

“Sunshine will blow your mind, and the wind blow your brain.”

So good, so good.

Oh, so good.

It’s not impossible/unfathomable/unusual ~~& *future plans* & a catch up

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Good afternoon! Being off school for the next two weeks, I firmly told myself in the mirror that I must aim to be out of the house by noon each day, and, being 12:03pm as I write, it is nice to be like ‘Fuck you, me!’ It has helped with meal times though, I have been known to wake at half 12, have some breakfast, and then immediately follow it with some lunch because ‘well, it is lunchtime.’

Anyway, things are good! I have 3 days off now with no school or work, and I’ve treated myself by finally emptying my Amazon basket and turning it into a real delivery that will turn up at my doorstep in a couple of days (if I have sufficient funds, fingers crossed.) It wasn’t much anyway, just things I’ve wanted for a while, including Pink Martini’s, ‘Splendor in the Grass’, Godard’s Au Bout De Souffle (which I have literally wanted for over a year) and some iron on patches- great conversation starter, especially with cute boys with floppy hair in pop-up bars.

There is a lot going on at the moment, I’ve decided to take a gap year (an involuntary one, of course, thank you drama school) but no, actually it seems like a really good thing for me right now, and I finally will get to s
ee my beloved Europe- still young, blonde and unaware of danger. This blog might begin to slide towards travel writing/hoping/dreaming etc, I want to go there so exciting and with the highest expectations that I will have to fulfill as a matter of necessity. Yes, I have such a romanticised view of it, which derives from too much teen trash novels- which means I have too much of a romanticised idea of pretty much everything.

I am probably going to Interail it all, and am particularly excited about travelling through Italy, where my dad’s side are from. If anyone’s been through this all before, please get in touch! I want to know the best places to go, eat, drink, dance etc.

This wasn’t supposed to be a post about this, but I guess that is what it’s now become. I really must leave now though,  I have to meet a friend about a little upcycling business we’ve started up (you will no doubt be hearing about this too!)

Write very soon, I promise. (Setting myself up to fail, as per.)

P.s Glastonbury line up half announced, next 3 months have POTENTIAL!!!!!

Tay x